“My old car had a cassette deck, so I was always on the hunt for tapes,” remarks Edmonton’s singer-songwriter Jake Ian.
“You can buy tapes for a dime at some thrift stores, and I eventually built up an awesome tape collection. It was all old music, since nobody puts out tapes anymore. Sometimes I only had one or two tapes in the car for a six-hour drive, so I’d listen to them over and over. It’s funny how you can fall in love with a certain album after you listen to it hundreds of times. I was mostly on the search for old country tapes.”
Jake has been part of the Edmonton music scene for almost 15 years, and has seen trends come and go.
“There are lots of great folk artists and singer-songwriters there; Joe Nolan, Scott Cook — sometimes small music communities can be very cliquey; Edmonton’s no different. Terrible artists can rise to the top, great artists remain under-appreciated, but that’s the same anywhere. It’s the nature of the business.
“Edmonton’s got lots of good venues, Alberta’s got an incredible amount of summer festivals, so there’s never a shortage of gigs. I try to limit my Edmonton performances to one every three or four months, though — after a while, even Neil Young wouldn’t be able to draw a crowd if he played the same town every week. That’s why I like to go on the road.”
Jake Ian’s current album “Sad & Lonely Man” has gathered much acclaim since its March 2012 release, receiving steady campus-radio airplay nationwide. A more boot-stomping affair than his usual repertoire, the album is aimed at rowdy bar crowds, which Jake plays to with his band, the Haymakers.
In between touring stints, Jake is busy recording his next album, which will include the musical efforts of Corb Lund’s lead guitarist Grant Siemens and Deep Dark Woods keyboardist Geoff Hilhorst.
“I love travelling and playing music,” Jake says. “For six months I’ve been touring mainly solo. I’m a very quiet and private person. I enjoy my alone time. Touring gives me a lot of that. It does get lonely, though. You need thick skin to tour. Sometimes you drive eight hours to play a dive for four people who couldn’t care less. That can be hard on the ego. Then you can have the most amazing crowd that you’d imagine, somewhere you’d least expect it. People hear ‘touring’ and they assume it’s a Motley Crue lifestyle; girls, drugs, non-stop parties… when that’s the furthest thing from what it is. You can’t drive all day after staying up all night. Touring’s hard work!”
Jake describes what to expect at his show: “My songs are very story-oriented. Some are serious, some are funny and downright ridiculous. I sprinkle the sets with plenty of harmonica solos, jokes and stories. I’ve never played the East Kootenay before, so I’m looking forward to it. I did play Creston last summer at the Snoring Sasquatch; a fabulous show … I’m pretty sure the building’s haunted.”
Jake Ian and the Haymakers perform live at BJ’s Creekside Pub (340 Mark St., Kimberley), Wednesday, March 27, with special guest Lonesome Jim (aka James Neve of 60 Hertz). Showtime 8 p.m.